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May 31, 2006



Can you give an example of how the new testement writers used old testement scripture as a springboard to further investigate the kingdom life?


To R:

The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote recently that hopefully provides a good example and explanation of what I'm talking about:

In 1 Corithians 1-11, Paul says that Israel’s story serves as an “example” for the Corinthian church. The word translated as “example” in the NRSV is tupikos, which is related to the English word “type.” In other words, this story (from Exodus 32) gives guidance to the future church in an indirect way. Paul begins 1 Corinthians 10 by calling his Greek audience “brothers and sisters” and then asking them to consider stories about their “ancestors.” These are not, of course, the literal ancestors of the people in the Corinthian church. Paul is drawing them into a story and he wants them to see a direct “family” connection. This is no longer a story about a Jewish people, but a heritage of faith for all those who follow Christ. “Within Paul’s symbolic world, they are no longer among the goyim, because they have been taken up into the story of Israel.” (Richard Hays, Conversion of the Imagination, 9)

This story is more inferred than quoted directly. The only direct quote in this passage is found in verse 7, which is referring to Exodus 32:6. The rest of the passage alludes to events from Israel’s past in a non-literal way. As Richard Hays points out, Paul does not mean “that Moses passed out baptismal certificates or that theologians should debate whether Christ was igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary.” (Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, 91) Paul is applying these Old Testament narratives in imaginative ways to the life of the church. The passage through the Red Sea is a type for the baptism that the church now experiences. The rock from which water sprang is a type for Christ. The Corinthian church lives at a different moment in time than ancient Israel, yet they are “in identical relation to the same gracious and righteous God.” (Echoes of Scripture, 99)


"The point here is that the Old Testament was authoritative for Jesus and writers of the New Testament, but it was not the only source of their teachings."

I guess I would contend that the OT was the source of their teachings in that what they taught was drawn from their exegesis of the OT. I wonder how this notion compares with "source".

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